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06KIEV398, Ukraine: Prosecutors Weak Link in Combating TIP

January 31, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV398 2006-01-31 15:33 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Kyiv
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KIEV 000398 

SIPDIS 

DEPT FOR G/TIP, INL/AAE, EUR/UMB, AID, L/LEI 
JUSTICE FOR OIA, AFMLS,NDDS AND OPDAT 

E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KCRM SMIG KFRD PREF ELAB KWMN UP
SUBJECT: Ukraine: Prosecutors Weak Link in Combating TIP 

1. Summary.  In trafficking in persons (TIP) criminal 
cases, prosecutors are the weak link in the law enforcement 
chain due to the negative stereotypes many prosecutors hold 
of TIP victims, a lack of aggressive prosecution for fear 
of losing a case, and the difficulty in obtaining evidence 
in timely manner from abroad.  Embassy is urging the 
General Prosecutor's Office (GPO) to establish a TIP 
Division, is working with it to create a TIP training 
program at the Prosecutor's Academy, and is supporting its 
efforts to develop more flexible arrangements for obtaining 
evidence for TIP cases from GPOs in neighboring countries. 
End summary. 

PROSECUTORS: WRONG ATTITUDE PLUS NO INCENTIVE 
--------------------------------------------- - 

2. In 2005, the GPO, in response to an Embassy demarche, 
made TIP one of its five priority crimes.  However, to 
date, this step appears to have had limited impact on the 
practice of prosecutors who for the most part continue to 
harbor negative stereotypes of TIP victims.  At a recent 
seminar in Kharkiv, a prosecutor from Sumy told us that 
many victims willingly went abroad as prostitutes and thus 
they were not really victims and should be treated 
accordingly.  This common view among prosecutors reflects a 
view widely held by the public writ large.  Senior GOU 
officials and popular cultural icons like the pop-singer 
Svyatoslav Vakarchuk have started to try to change this 
negative stereotype through public statements and 
information spots. 

3. Prosecutors' inadequate handling of TIP cases has come 
under criticism from judges.  For example, Supreme Court 
Judge Strekalov stated that his analysis of TIP cases 
revealed that prosecutors tended to undercharge the accused 
in TIP cases and rarely appealed light sentences.  The 
reason, prosecutors have told us, is that they fear that 
they will lose a case and as a result be subject to 
disciplinary action.  The methodology for rating 
performance in Ukraine is a carryover from the Soviet-era 
when high volume statistics and 100% success rates were 
expected as the norm.  This serves as a disincentive for a 
prosecutor to take on a complicated case or go after a 
maximum conviction, as does the limited two-month time 
frame s/he has to build the case. 

4. Judge Strekalov's research also revealed that rarely do 
prosecutors support victims' civil suits for damage 
compensation.  When confronted with this latter fact, 
prosecutors complained to us that they did not have enough 
staff to cover the issue and would gladly welcome an 
increase in staffing.  Currently, in each of the 27 
regional prosecutor's offices, each comprised with a court 
department and an investigation oversight department, a 
person in the latter department has TIP responsibilities 
among his or her portfolio.  Some of these individuals, but 
not all, have the right to represent cases in court. 

SOLUTION: TRAINING, TIP DIVISION, AND ACCESS TO EVIDENCE 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 

5. Embassy has devised a multi-track approach to addressing 
these challenges.  On January 23, the Resident Legal 
Advisor (RLA) launched, in partnership with the 
Prosecutor's Academy, a one-year TIP training program with 
the goal of creating a permanent curriculum for the 
Academy.  RLA is also currently reviewing the new training 
programs of the International Organization for Migration 
(IOM) and OSCE to assess their value and see if there are 
possibilities for a distribution of labor.  Embassy has 
also been engaged in discussions with the Deputy Prosecutor 
General on the creation within the GPO of a dedicated TIP 
Division, similar to the Department for Combating TIP that 
was established in the Ministry of Interior in 2005.  In 
principle an agreement exists, but a six-month political 
battle over who legally is the Prosecutor General has 
delayed any final detailed discussions on what would be the 
most effective structure.  On January 30, Ambassador handed 
to President Yushchenko's chief of staff a letter urging 
the President to quickly sign into law legislation passed 
January 12 by the Parliament harmonizing Ukraine's Criminal 
Code with the TIP provisions of the UN Palermo Convention 
and to support the establishment of a TIP Division within 
the GPO. 

6. The GPO realizes that in combating TIP, a transnational 
crime, there is a need to simplify implementation of 
requests for mutual legal assistance (MLA) between 
neighboring countries.  With Poland, the GPO has already 
negotiated an agreement where regional prosecutors can send 
MLA requests directly to their counterparts in Poland and 
vice versa; i.e., not have to pass it through the national 
headquarters.  The GPO is currently negotiating similar 
arrangements with the Slovak Republic and Hungary.  At the 
same time, the RLA has reached out to her U.S. counterparts 
in Chisinau and Bucharest to fac
ilitate Ukraine joining 
Moldova and Romania in signing a trilateral agreement 
between the GPOs of the three countries to cooperate on 
transnational organized crime, including TIP. 

Herbst

 

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